Anaheim Filing Cites Name Value
With five words at issue in determining whether the Angels legally can add Los Angeles to their name, the man who negotiated the contract on behalf of the Walt Disney Co. said Thursday the disputed words were designed “to give Anaheim prominence ... so that Anaheim would be publicized when the baseball team was publicized.”
The Angels argue that a clause requiring the team name to “include the name Anaheim therein” permits them to play as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In an Orange County Superior Court hearing today, the city of Anaheim will ask that the name change be blocked for now, alleging the team has broken the contract by adopting a name that defeats the purpose of those five words.
The clause is part of a 1996 stadium lease agreement between the city and Disney, then owner of the Angels. Until Thursday, however, the city had based its case on what the parties intended but had not offered any supporting evidence from Disney’s side.
In a court declaration Thursday, then-Angel president Tony Tavares said Disney Chairman Michael Eisner had not decided whether to use “Anaheim Angels” or “Angels of Anaheim” -- a la Disney’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim -- but had “no intention of including, or reserving the right to include, two geographic names in the team name.”
Tavares also said he used Disney’s agreement to feature the Anaheim name in marketing “as negotiating leverage for other deal concessions.” Whenever talks sputtered -- the city ultimately agreed to pay $20 million toward Disney’s stadium renovations -- he said he asked city negotiators, “How are you going to put a value on seeing the name Anaheim in every newspaper in America when the Angels are mentioned?”
The Angels have filed motions to throw out similar declarations from city negotiators and are expected to file another to throw out the one from Tavares, arguing that the lease speaks for itself and the court need not consider interpretations or explanations. The Angels also are expected to object to Tavares’ declaration on grounds the city and team agreed two weeks ago no new evidence would be introduced before today’s hearing.
In a court filing Thursday, the city argued the retention of Anaheim at the end of the Angels’ new name is “a slick gimmick in order to belittle and disassociate the name Anaheim from the baseball team.”
Also, since the city previously had acknowledged its failure to get Disney to limit the name change to the Anaheim Angels, Anaheim contended the Angels’ submission of a lease draft reflecting that failure -- termed a “smoking gun” by the team -- is “nothing more than a pop gun that did not even pop.”
The loser in today’s hearing can appeal, although an appeal might not be heard for months, said Sheldon Eisenberg, a Santa Monica lawyer who has followed the case closely. If the Angels lose, they can ask for a stay that would allow them to keep the new name pending appeal.
Also Thursday, after the team didn’t object, the court accepted a brief from the city of Los Angeles opposing the name change.
Dino Ebel, who spent the last 17 years as a player, coach and manager in the Dodger farm system, was named manager of the Angels’ triple-A team at Salt Lake, and former Kansas City Royal first-base coach Tom Gamboa was named manager of the double-A team at Arkansas.
Ebel takes over for Mike Brumley, and Gamboa will replace Tyrone Boykin, who will manage the Angels’ Class-A team at Rancho Cucamonga. Bobby Magallanes (Class-A Cedar Rapids manager) and rookie-league managers Tom Kotchman (Orem, Utah), Brian Harper (Mesa, Ariz.) and Charlie Romero (Dominican Summer League) will return in the same jobs.
Among the additions to the Angels’ minor league staff are 13-year major league veteran Bryn Smith, who will be the pitching coach at Salt Lake, and 12-year major league veteran Craig Grebeck, the hitting coach at Mesa.
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.